Halo, Random Musings
Posted By: John Oreskovich<JAO8123@aol.com>
Date: 30 July 2001, 9:11 PM
I shouldn't have eaten.
Bustling in turbulence this was the main thought occupying my mind. My stomach always one jump ahead of our drop-ship I suffered silently, giving my, equally distressed, men a thumbs up. Scanning the cascading numbers on the display I started pulling myself together. This was going to be interesting. I shouldn't have eaten.
13 hours ago we'd crashed on this ring world, derelict with no way home. Armed, dangerous and altogether unsure of what to do next. We'd fled the battle of Andromeda, damaged, ineffective, our system's failing. Apparently ordered out by the theatre commander we'd made a blind jump to÷ here. I didn't know where here was, Captain Marion said the astronomical charts placed us some 400 light years from our old position, impossible, but computer's don't lie, least that's what the Captain said.
Being the Lieutenant in charge of the ship's marines, I hastily ordered a perimeter erected. None of us had faced the Covenant on the ground before. To be honest I think half of my men hoped we wouldn't have to. I didn't know what I thought; I was just doing my job. Fanning out several hundred yards from our fated ship we dug until we couldn't lift our arms anymore. Placing four heavy weapons in a rough diamond around our ship we dug trenches connecting ourselves. Keeping one gun in reserve I knew our 16 men platoon wouldn't be enough should something bad happen, we needed the rest of our equipment. We needed it now.
We'd taken to call this strange, musty, planet Halo. Thomas, one of my men had stated that the glimmering ring surrounding the planet reminded him of angels that his great grandmother had spoken of. After I explained to the rest of my men what angel's were, we wished for one desperately, somehow the name of this place made us feel better.
Captain Marion had been trying to get our support craft out of Hotline, but we had crashed at a bad angle and most of the main hatch was buried in the crater we had made. I had lent him my demo expert as we dug our emplacements. Several times during our digging we'd heard the sound of Sgt. Johnny's C-5 but only as night began to make her descent did one of our patrol jets blast out of our enclave. Gladdened at the sight I had smiled to myself. Our situation was desperate, but we were no longer blind to this world, we had a set of eyes up.
Leaving my men I climbed up the shallow hill between my southern weapon emplacement and the Hotline, jogging through the maze of corridors until reaching Ops. Captain Marion's XO had gestured me to a chair and together we had watched the feed coming in from the craft's onboard computers. Maneuvering just above and dashing below treetops I admired the pilot's skill.
For this ground-pounder trees were made to be used as cover, and for coordinating against a foe unseen, evidently the pilot had been to the same school I had. Growing almost dizzy I watched in amazement as he navigated a thick forest, scant meters off the ground. Leaving the forest behind him he shot across a clearing, a cliff before an ocean on his right, a massive building approaching from his northwest.
Blue laser fire erupted from a point just before the building and our screen tilted as the pilot evaded. More fire started coming from several directions and all we saw was the setting sun and a few clouds as the pilot traded speed for distance in what was becoming a desperate attempt to break contact. Two blue streaks shot just across the screen, suddenly the picture shook and spun off into a wild diving dance.
Through the garbled transmission I thought I'd heard the pilot radioing that he'd been hit. The spinning on the screen slowed and the horizon came back into view. Breathing my relief for the pilot I glanced at the XO who gave me a nod. I was looking at the alien ocean when the link was broken and static reined supreme on the screen.
Leaping to my feet I hastily excused myself as I started dashing for my men. Leaving the confusion and panic of the Hotline behind I ran to my command tent, ordering my men to start gearing up for a patrol. I knew in my head that our pilot was lost, for some reason this didn't concern me. The Covenant was here in force, and they knew we were here. This thought sent a chill down my spine.
Chief Kelly's voice clicked on in my helmet, "Sir, the drop point is three clicks away, have your men ready we're coming in hot."
Compensating to be heard in the back of the drop-ship, I responded "Roger Chief, thanks for the ride." Releasing my restraints, while wishing I didn't have to, I gave the order to get things in motion. "Saddle up!"
Weapons clicked and grenades brushed against themselves as my 12 assembled marines came to their feet and started taking pre drop positions. Donovan and his squad of two raced to the Jeep, Donovan cranking on the ignition while the other two marines cleared the cable holding the jeep in place, saddled up and made ready, the taller of the two taking place behind the heavy machine gun.
Looking around I saw my men at the ready, all eyes on me. It had been ten seconds since I'd given the order, our go display had been flashing red, quickly to yellow, and now to green. Our exit ramp opened and I started for it with a shout "Go, go go!"